Emma Raducanu has accomplished one of greatest sporting achievements of all time by winning the US Open at just 18 years of age.
The teenager – remarkably a qualifier for the tournament – produced the performance of her short career to defeat Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 and become the youngest British woman to win a major tournament in 44 years.
Tearing up the record books, Raducanu has become the first British female major winner since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
Incredibly, she has not lost a set en route to the final and has dropped just 34 games in her seven matches.
Two months after bursting onto the scene at Wimbledon ranked 361st in the world, a month after receiving her A level results, and 13 days after entering qualifying in New York, the 18-year-old has now sealed one of the most remarkable sporting achievements of all time.
The teenager will take home prize money of £1.8million – more than eight times her current career earnings – as well as 2,000 ranking points, which will move her up from her current standing of 150 to 23.
Raducanu made the better start, confidently holding serve in the opening game and then taking her sixth opportunity to break for 2-0.
But Fernandez shook off any early nerves to hit straight back, the two young women showing immediately why they had conquered all before them in New York.
Every rally was hard fought, neither woman shirking an opportunity to strike the first blow but reading each other’s games in a way none of their previous opponents had managed.
Brilliant returning from Raducanu – probably the shot of the tournament – brought up two set points in the 10th game.
Fernandez saved both, and a third, but on her fourth opportunity the British teenager drilled a forehand down the line to take it 6-4.
Raducanu again threatened to break for a 2-0 lead in the second set, only for Fernandez to put her disappointment behind her and save three break points.
The Canadian then broke serve herself to lead 2-1 but back came Raducanu with what proved the decisive break of the match.
A run of four straight games took her to the brink of victory but Fernandez was not finished, saving two match points to force Raducanu to try to serve it out.
To add to the tension, the British player was forced to take an injury timeout after grazing her leg sliding to the ball, much to the annoyance of Fernandez.
Raducanu saved the break point, and another, before bringing up her third match point. And this time she took it – with an ace, sealing a phenomenal 6-4 6-3 victory.
Tim Henman backed Raducanu to add more grand slam titles to her maiden victory at the US Open.
“What she has achieved, second grand slam and the way she has gone about it, she will win more of these, she is that good,” he told Amazon Prime.
“This is not some flash in the pan or fairy tale. She is playing top five tennis.
“Her world will be turned upside down but she has good people around her. It will be a hell of a ride if she can stay injury free.”
This is a breaking news story. More updates will follow shortly.
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